Announcement: Dr. Jeffrey Turnbull named honorary degree recipient

By awarding honorary degrees, the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry recognizes individuals whose accomplishments are of such excellence that they provide inspiration and leadership to its graduates.

The School’s MD Convocation for the Class of 2022 is taking place on June 3, where Dr. Jeffrey Turnbull will be honoured.

Turnbull is a physician leader, advocate and a humanitarian. The founder and medical director of the Ottawa Inner City Health (OICH) Project, he has dedicated much of his career to caring for Ottawa’s most vulnerable populations.

OICH was founded on the principle of providing care to a population with unique needs on their terms, and according to what their expectations and needs are, rather than providing care with a one-size-fits-all approach.

Since OICH’s founding in the early 2000s, the organization has grown to support multiple programs across several sites in the city, serving hundreds of people. It is also home to a number of cutting-edge programs that have been studied and copied around the world, including a palliative care ward located in the Ottawa Mission.

In 2017, Turnbull made national headlines when he left his job as Chief of Staff at the Ottawa Hospital and Chief of Clinical Quality at Health Quality Ontario to begin working full-time and exclusively at OICH.

Of his decision, he shared, “I am not a saint. I view it as going back to the things I love. I feel invigorated. I enjoy it. I like the people. I can hang out with those guys and enjoy every minute of it and I never get tired of it.”*

Turnbull received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto in 1974 and his Doctor of Medicine from Queen’s University in 1978. He came to London and the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry to pursue his internal medicine residency, which was soon followed by a master’s degree in education.

He began his career in London at Western University, combining a clinical practice, education and research. He was recruited to the University of Ottawa where he served in a number of roles, including Chair, Assistant Dean and Vice Dean. From 2008 to 2017, he served as Chief of Staff of Ottawa Hospital.

As a national leader, Turnbull has served as the President of the Canadian Medical Association, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, and the Medical Council of Canada. Internationally, he has been involved in education and health services initiatives in Bangladesh, Africa and the Balkans.

He has been recognized with an Order of Canada for his humanitarian efforts and commitment to providing medical services.

Committed to holistic care and innovation, he is grateful to those who he meets and works with every day, who he says have taught him compassion, patience, affection and the value of small victories. “Working with them has made me a better person.”

*Ottawa Citizen, 2017